Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thunder Bay

Distance: 124km
Time: 4hrs 30min

We made it to Thunder Bay early in the day to avoid a possible rain storm and to pick up Amy who was arriving at the airport. Needless to say AJ was definitely looking forward to the day as he and Amy have been apart for the last month.

This weekend was special in two ways: first it is the first time that we have all six members of our Brothers Bike 4 ALS Team together and secondly it is the first time we have two rest days in a row! The weekend here in Thunder Bay has been very relaxing and has definitely been a much needed break from camping. We have been fortunate enough to stay here in Thunder Bay with AJ's friends Scott & Miriam with some highlights including: seeing Kakabeka waterfall, touring a cheese farm and going to church at Redwoods Alliance Church.

A Not So Eventful Day

Distance: 120km
Time: 4hrs

The ride from Ignace to Upsala was fairly uneventful. We made our distance in fairly good time and spent most of the ride without seeing much civilization. Our accommodations was about 20km past Upsala and was the first "resort" we stayed at. While the term resort has a broad definition it was definitely stretched to the limit with this place! They were very nice though and let us stay in one of the old cabins for free. After camping for a number of days with lots of bitting bugs it was great to be indoors.

Close Calls

Distance: 150km
Time: 6hrs

This morning the boys got up early despite the rain and mosquitoes to make it to a radio interview in Vermilion Bay on Q104. The girls packed up the campsite as quickly as they could because they were being swarmed by mosquitoes! They drove into Vermilion Bay and met up with the boys early.

The radio station had given them stickers with 2-for-1 Big Mac Coupons, so group decided to stop at MacDonalds for an early lunch. As they entered the parking lot, a police man pulled up behind them. The girls got worried because they were trying to park and were taking up 5 parking spots and Adam was worried because he had just made a slightly illegal move on this bike entering the parking lot. The girls took off in the van, and the police man came over to Adam. The police man introduced himself as Dave and shook the boys hands and said that he'd heard them on the radio this morning and that his own father had just passed away from ALS.
Thankfully he didn't give anyone a ticket and said that he'd make a donation online.

A little while later, the boys got pulled over by a Ministry of Transportation vehicle, and were worried for the second time that day that they were going to get in trouble for something. Instead, it was a lady named Della who's friend Martin had just passed away from ALS. She had heard them on the radio, and then seen the boys biking, so she rushed home to get 2 cases of bottled water and a donation.

The encouragement continued as near the end of a long day of biking, the boys ran out of water they decided to stop at someone's house for water. She was very willing to refill their water bottles as she'd just read about them in the paper that morning.

From Beach to Bay

Distance: 165km
Time: 5hrs 50min

We stayed at a place called Falcon Beach which apparently was the site for a TV show shot here for a couple of years. The days ride was our longest for the week but as we made our way from Manitoba into Ontario it was nice to see the scenery changing and to begin to bike past the many lakes of Northern Ontario. The ride was more hilly then it has been for quite some time but with the twists and turns came more to see as we rode along.

We met up with a cyclist today named Dennis who was heading in the other direction. He said he has come across many cyclists so far, which is not surprising considering most travel from West to East. Dennis himself admitted that if he had of known about the prevailing winds coming from the West he too might have decided to travel in the other direction. As it was his journey had already brought him from St. Catherines in 14 days so while he may not have the wind with him he is definitely making good time. All the best Dennis! Tonight's stay is in Vermilion Bay at another campsite and tomorrow morning we are to have an interview with a radio station.

lords of the flies

Distance: 145km
Time: 5hrs 20min

To our avid readers it is with our sincerest apologies that we have not been more prompt with our postings for this last week. It appears that if you want to truly be in a remote place then Northern Ontario is likely a good place to start:)

On to this week's postings! Having had an enjoyable time at the Ifland's in Winnipeg us boys headed out on Monday morning. It seems to be official that Mondays (aka the first day of biking after a rest day are extremely tough at least from a mental perspective). On this particular morning our highlight was seeing Matt Hill and Stephanie Tait who are both running around North America. It is an incredible endeavor which puts bike riding across Canada into a new perspective as these two are definitely more crazy then we are:) Matt and Stephanie are running to raise awareness for the environment and actions that can be taken to sustain it. To find out more about their journey visit

From our chance run in with Run for One Planet we made our way to the longitudinal center of Canada, marking our half way point from a longitudinal perspective. The rest of the day was less then enjoyable. The wind was a little against us, the sun was getting hot and worst of all we came upon swarms of flies that followed us for the majority of our afternoon ride. The flies were really bad as they would fly around each of us in little clouds above our heads and would fly into us every so often, bouncing off our helmets and bodies. The only good thing was that the flies would not land on us or bit so it was mostly just really really annoying. As the title suggests we could have been the lords of the flies but instead I think each of us felt more like the character "Pigpen" from Charlie Brown who always has flies buzzing around his head!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Weekend in Winnipeg

Distance: 90km
Time: 3 hr

The trip into Winnipeg was good as we enjoyed sunshine and the wind at our backs. Arriving in Winnipeg we were warmly greeted by the Iflands. Orion and Rebecca have treated us really well and we have definitely enjoyed our time with their little guy Seth. We also had a chance to connect with one of Mike's old friends from youth group days, Tim Gibbons. Tim is married and has two beautiful little girls.

The rest day has been much needed and Orion was good to take us downtown to the Forks (where the river forks). It is a really nice area and we were able to take in some of the jazz music as there is a big jazz festival happening. Next up is Ontario where we will spend a third of our journey!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

No Need to Portage a la Prairie

Distance: 130km
Time: 3hr 30min

After our short ride into Brandon we had a longer but enjoyable 130km ride into Portage le Prairie. The weather was beautiful and sunny with the best part being the wind at our backs. I think us boys have decided that this is the way biking was meant to be done!

We made it to Portage by lunch time and had the afternoon to enjoy some time off. The camp ground we stayed at was on Island Park in Portage which was an actual island; not something you expect to see in the prairies. Portage was larger then we had thought and the island was quite picturesque.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Short Ride to Brandon

Distance: 75km
Time: 2hr 30min

Today was a good day for biking in many ways. We got to sleep in a bit not leaving the campsite until just before 9am, the day was beautiful and sunny with a light breeze and us boys only had to bike 75km, which was about half the distance of a normal day's ride!

We arrived in Brandon at lunch time, met up with the girls and got ourselves set-up at our campsite. It was nice to actually have some time in the afternoon especially since we had a few things to do. Most importantly were a few repairs to the tent trailer. AJ earned his keep today fixing all that needed fixing (that's why everyone needs a mechanical engineer). We all decided he deserved some dessert after dinner for his hard work. Way to go Mr. Fix-it:)

Surprises from above and below...

Distance: 150 km
Time: 6.5 hours

The boys were loving today as they started out biking with the wind and made great time. However, it was no more than an hour in before they were caught by the rain and had to wait out a thunderstorm that loomed ahead. It didn't take long for the storm to pass by though and so for the rest of the day they were able to enjoy the show as they biked in the sun and watched the lightning in the clouds ahead of them (they were not in the lightning, only able to see it in the distance).

With one crisis averted they enjoyed the cool air brought on by the storm but were given one more surprise as they stumbled across some construction. It started out okay but the further they got the more the road seemed to throw at them...literally. The rain had turned the sand on the road into clay, which promptly clogged up their bikes. At one point it was bad enough that both Adam and Mike had to carry their bikes as the wheels were clogged and unable to turn. AJ, to Mike and Adam's chagrin, did not have this issue and coasted through with little difficulty. Luckily, it only lasted for 22 km and soon the boys were on their way again, crossing the border into Manitoba and finishing their long day with time to spare.

Kipling- Town of the nicest people on the face of this earth :)

Distance: 130 km
Time: 6.5 hours

The day after a rest day is always tough but this one was a challenge mentally. We checked the weather in the morning and found out that the wind had shifted to the southeast and would stay there all week. This meant that we would be biking into the wind with no reprieve and we were all discouraged right from start. It was slow going and with nothing but the prairies to look at we were very glad to pull into our campsite in the little town of Kipling.

Kipling.....truly one of the best towns we have stayed in thus far. When Juliet and Heather finished putting up the tent trailer, the manager of the grounds arrived to tell us that the campsite would be free for us. During the course of that evening 4 donations of $20 were made from locals who had heard of our arrival to Kipling through the loop. One of the donations came from the wife of a man who's father had passed away from a 6 year struggle with ALS. We had met him on a walk into town to find the components for delicious smores, and had a very brief conversation with him about our cause. After having a challenging day it was a real comfort to see God working within the hearts of people around us.

Another exciting evening event that evening was seeing the "Largest RED Paper Clip in the World" The picture doesn't do it justice.

The following morning served to be another reminder of God's hand in our trip. Juliet and I (Heather) had a lovely morning of trying to figure out why a) the tent trailer would not wind down and b) why jumping on the top of it served no purpose. Juliet found a helpful man in the local pool who told us where a garage was to fix the trailer, since he did not have the tools to do it. We then had to drive like a turtle, with the tent trailer still up, to get to the garage two blocks away. We had an interesting time with several male mechanics who laughed at the two blondes who were unable to figure out how to work a tent trailer crank. It ended up being a bigger issue then we expected, but they fixed it for free. Ahhhh Kipling, the town of people who never pass up the opportunity to help their fellow man.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Hard but Special Day

Distance: 90km
Time: 3hr 30min

While the distance traveled for the day was not as hard as our previous three days of 175km (per day!), it was however tough as our bodies were tired from the long days of riding and we knew that our next day would be a rest day in Regina.

The day was also special as Juliet was good to remind us boys that it was Father's Day. With the ride being in part to celebrate our Father's life there was lots to think about biking towards Regina. I'd say Dad was with us as we made our way through flat prairie fields with big puffy clouds and blue sky filling the horizon. I think he would be proud of us for doing this together, for looking to encourage other families having a loved one with ALS and for raising awareness as we journey across Canada.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Best and Worst of Cycling

Distance: 175km
Time: 6hr 15min

Having had our worst cycling day of the trip earlier this week (head wind, cold, rain, etc) we had one of the best afternoons to speak of yet. The morning ride from Outlook to Elbow (that's right there is a place called "Elbow") was really good at first, then we change directions and seemed to be against the wind and on a slight incline for the rest of the morning (not as much fun).

The afternoon started out with some light rain but got progressively better especially considering that we had the wind at our backs for the first time! What a difference it made too as we averaged 35 to 40km per hour. With the great wind and the girls not being impressed with our next rest stop (a place called "Eyebrow", which would raise eyebrows) we decided to take advantage of the favorable winds and head towards Moose Jaw. By days end we had added another 50km to our ride in about an hour and a half. The highlight of the afternoon for the boys was in reaching new sprinting records on their bikes. Mike reached 57.7km on a flat section of road and that was the boys maximum speed for the day! Next up a short ride into Regina and a rest day to come.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What a lovely Outlook

Distance: 175km
Time: 6hr 30min

The boys had a good morning of biking from Kindersley and met up with the girls in Rosetown for lunch. The afternoon ride was fairly uneventful and the boys were able to make up the extra distance they need to get back on track.

While Juliet and Heather opted not to see the Museum in Outlook that features a large collection of Salt and Pepper Shakers, they did enjoy spending some time reading books by the river (after their daily tasks of setting up camp was done of course!) After dinner everyone went into town and got slurpies and chips and then we had fun walking on SkyTrail, "the longest pedestrian bridge in Canada."

Even cooler than the converted railway bridge was the beaver we watched swim right across the South Saskatchewan River, climb up on the shore with some food, and then slip back into the river and continue on his way.

Another gem from our stay in this small town was the church called the Gospel Lighthouse and whose sign reads, "A beacon of light for a world that's on the rocks"

Getting Better?

Distance: 180 km
Time: 6hr 45min

Today started off looking pretty good as the sun was out and we were all pleased with our decision to call it quits the day before. The wind was slightly behind us and so in the first 3 hours and 15 minutes we made 100km and were excited to try and double it in the afternoon. However, after stopping with the girls for lunch the wind seemed to change and when we started again the going was slow. We were soon all frustrated at 150 km and wanting to end our day but Adam was determined to try and reach at least 175 km and so the day dragged on. The weather did not improve but we stuck it out and completed our goal, calling the girls and getting picked up just as the wind got worse. Needless to say, we were all worn out and wondering what the next day would hold in store for us.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Best Part of Drumheller

Distance: 55km
Time: 2hr 45min

We all went to the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller this morning and really enjoyed it. It has an awesome collection of dinosaurs bones!
The boys ran into really bad weather with strong head winds. They were wet, cold, and tired by the time lunch came around and decided to call it a day and wait for better weather. We drove to Hanna and camped there. The boys will make up the extra distance from today over the next few days.

Drum Roll for our most Hellish Day Yet!

Distance: 152 km
Time: 6 hr 45min

So, our rest day was a nice change of pace and aside from the view short rain showers it was a nice sunny day. Us boys cleaned and tunned up our bikes and we all enjoyed a night out to see the new Indiana Jones movie.

However, the ride from Calgary area to Drumheller was not so nice. We started the day off in rain, wind and cold temperatures hovering around 6 degrees for most of the morning. In the afternoon we ran into some road constructions and a patch of unpaved muddy road that had us boys and our bikes dirty from head to toe. Adam made the comment that he would almost like for there to be more rain to wash us off and God decided to honor this request as we soon found ourselves in rain again and later even went through a brief downpour. The three of us decided that this was officially our worst days ride yet and to end our perfectly bad day of riding AJ had his tire blow within 5km of Drumheller. Ironically we had been waiting all day for a nice downhill section and the best one of the day was right after where AJ got his flat so we ended up walking down most of the hill to Drumheller. The perfect ending to a perfectly hellish day! The best part of the day was by far the warm showers at the Hoo Doos camp ground and going to see the Hoo Doos themselves that evening.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cow Town & Betty's Run

Distance: 65 km
Time: 2 hr 30min

The boys biked hard in order to get to Calgary in time for Betty's Run for ALS. We made it there by 11am and were really impressed by the number of people who were there in support and amazed at how much money they were able to raise. We met Karen Caughey, the Executive Director of ALS Alberta.
We are staying at the Buchan's house in Calgary and Juliet was happy to see her friend Lyndsey. We are enjoying our visit with them. A highlight was playing an intense game of apples to apples after dinner. Tomorrow is a day off and everyone is looking forward to it!

Alberta Bound!

Distance: 150km
Time: 6 hr

Today was a long day as we finished our time in British Columbia. After coming through Rogers Pass and being a little surprised by the uphill climbs just past Golden, we thought the trek from Golden to Banff would be all downhill. I kept telling AJ and Adam that we would soon hit some big downhill sections as we made our way into Alberta.

Apparently coming out of the Rockies on the Alberta side is a more gradual decline then in BC, which AJ and Adam reminded me of with every uphill section.

Today we got an up close look at some elk but AJ and I are in a debate as to whether they were all elk or if some were deer. If anyone has a definitive answer maybe you can help us end our debate.
The girls meet us at Lake Louise for lunch and then we decided to pedal hard throughout the afternoon to make the next day's ride into Calgary as short as possible. This meant the longest ride so far at 150 km! We will be saying goodbye to the mountains soon.

Astonishing Find...

Distance: 140 km
Time: 5 hours 30 min

The day from Revelstoke started out quiet but it didn't take long before excitement found us once again. We were making our way up a hill when we were passed by two young cyclists. This wasn't the first time we had been passed by other bikers but it was the first time that it was on a hill and they were both carrying 40-50 lb packs on their bikes too! Needless to say, we were a little embarrassed but struck up a conversation and found out that they had a schedule similar to ours but were making better time. It was at that point that I think we started biking a little harder...and our light bikes finally paid off as we left them behind us and didn't see them again that day.

We made our way up to Roger's Pass, which we were told would be a difficult climb, but were pleasantly surprised and even a little disappointed to discover that it wasn't all it was made out to be. Our disappointment didn't last long though as we headed down the other side and made excellent time heading toward Golden.

In fact, we made good enough time that we rode through Golden to make the next day's ride shorter. Unfortunately, the majority of our 'extra' kilometers were uphill but we did get to see an interesting sight. Mike was in the lead when all of a sudden Adam started yelling "Ram! Deer! Caribou!" Mike stopped to see what Adam was yelling about and somehow missed seeing that there was a wild animal 15 feet ahead of him on the road. It didn't seem to mind us at first and so Adam and AJ argued over whether it was a deer or a ram while it sat there looking at us. From behind it looked like a deer and even bounded like one and since it did not have any antlers or horns Adam labeled it a deer. However, after it started bounding up the side of a cliff AJ claimed victory but Adam did not let up, labeling it a Ramdeer and claiming that he discovered a new species. Unfortunately we were not able to get a picture of this particular animal (to Adam's disappointment) but we did see other mountain sheep close by. So if you are ever traveling through the Golden area, keep an eye out for the Ramdeer...and take a picture for Adam.

Friday, June 6, 2008

To Revelstoke

Distance: 125 km
Time: 5 hr 20min

It was a cold, wet ride to Revelstoke. Heather and Juliet stopped at Craigellachie and saw the historic "last spike" (picture to come...)

The best part about the day was getting to stay at the Comfort Inn. They graciously gave us 3 complimentary rooms and we thoroughly enjoyed the large king sized beds, hot tub and tv. It is a really nice place to stay! We order pizza and had a very relaxing evening.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our Evening in Salmon Arm

Our friend, Graeme Horton works for Twin Anchor Houseboats and he took us out on Shuswap Lake in the most luxurious houseboat we'd ever seen! It had a gorgeous kitchen and 2 bathrooms and on the upper deck there was a hot tub and tv!  It was a beautiful evening and the Hortons bbq'd a great dinner for us. Thank you Twin Anchors!

After we docked, we had the opportunity to meet the Kiy's and we went to their house for dessert. This was very meaningful for us all because Dirk (the dad) is currently living with ALS. We had a great visit with them and it was inspiring to see how graciously they are all coping with the disease. Although it is getting difficult to understand some of Dirk's speech, he has a great sense of humor and made us all laugh numerous times. Thank you Kiy's for reminding us why we are doing this!

The Reward

Distance: 130 km
Time: 5 hours

A lot has happened since our last post.  For those of you who do not know, both Adam and AJ have had a collapsed lung before (happens sometimes to tall skinny guys for no real reason).  With that in mind, Adam had felt some discomfort in his lungs during the ride from Merritt to Kelowna but decided not to tell anyone and just hoped that it would go away.  It hadn't by 10:30 pm and after Adam revealed that he had felt something similar before (wink wink), Heather made him go to the hospital.  Juliet drove and so the adventure began.  Luckily the hospital wasn't too busy and Adam had the respect of the doctors as they all appreciated the cause of the bike trip.  He was rushed right through, had three different X-Ray shots and even an ultrasound; all within an hour.  The doctor was pleased to tell me that it wasn't a collapsed lung and even gave a donation to the cause.  So it all turned out and we were home by 12:00. 

The next day he was feeling a little better and so we started our trek from Kelowna to Salmon Arm.  It was a beautiful day and we made excellent time until Adam got two flats at one time and since we only had one spare tube on us, we had to call the girls to come back for some roadside assistance.  The whole pit stop took us over an hour and so we were eager to get back on the road to reach Salmon Arm. 


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Up, Up & Up Some More!

Distance: 115km
Time: 6hr

So, I originally thought that climbing out of Merritt this morning was going to be the toughest part of our day. Upon further discovery it seems that there are a lot more hills between Merritt and Kelowna then I remember. Other then the occasional brief decline the rest of the day was spent going up! In the end today was a harder day then yesterday but we were rewarded by the end as we cruised down from the Penaske summit. On the way down we met up with a news reporter who interviewed us for the Kelowna news that night. In all it was a good day for awareness as we did an interview for a Merritt paper in the morning, the Kelowna CHBC news interview as well as two more interviews for local Kelowna papers once we arrived. Juliet has been doing a superb job of setting up interviews as us boys are tired enough with the rides. Tonight we are staying at Juliet's parents and they have rolled out the red carpet feeding us lots of great food (including steaks cooked by yours truly:). It is really great to see some familiar faces along the way and we'll look forward to seeing more in the days and weeks ahead.

Monday, June 2, 2008

First Day in the Mountains

Distance: 114km
Time: 5hr

We woke up this morning to the sound of rain outside the tent trailer. Because we were all warm inside sleeping bags the thought of getting up to start our first day in the Mountains was less than appealing. Stepping outside the tent-trailer though the rain was not as bad as it sounded and by late morning we were through the light rain and fog having risen above it. With all three boys not having trained together this was the first real test to see how we would do. As it turns out AJ is the King of the Hill when it comes to hill climbs! Adam and I are not sure how, but AJ seemed to be able to put the pedal down (literally:) when it came to climbing the hills. AJ seems to think it was all of his spinner workouts. We met up with some other cyclists who had just started their journey from Surrey, BC to St. John's. They were doing the trek unassisted with all of their gear on their bikes. Going up those mountains has given us boys a new found respect for anyone doing this on their own with all of their gear. We made it to Merritt in record time so we went for some Starbucks and Tim Hortons before heading over to the van Hemmen's for the night. The van Hemmens treated us like Kings and Queens as they not only fed us a great meal but ice cream sundaes too and to top it all off let us use their hot tube to rest our weary bones.

Here's for Hope (ing:)

Distance: 110km
Time: 4.5 hr

After having a great kick-off event and short ride we were a little slow leaving our Langley apartment. Juliet's parents were an amazing help throughout the weekend and ensured we left Langley on the right track. Today's ride started with a ferry ride, taking all of a couple of minutes to cross the Fraser river. We biked through Mission to Aggassi enjoying the farmland and countryside before heading into the foothills towards Hope. When we arrived in Hope, Juliet and Heather had our tent trailer all set-up and were ready to start one of Heather's gourmet meals. It was our first night of camping and the Wild Rose camp ground was gracious enough to provide us with a spot free of charge. Us boys showered up, ate, ate and ate some more:)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Vancouver - Langley

Distance: 65 km
Time: 3.5 hours

The big day finally arrived and we were all eager to get things started at the kick-off event in Stanley Park. We had confirmed that 30 people would show up for our start but we were blown away to see 70 smiling faces encouraging us on our way. But it didn't stop there, both Global and CTV showed up for interviews and Global ran a 3 minute story in their evening news. Sandra Booker lead the group in an energizing aerobic warm up and Wendy McGee, the executive director of ALS BC was there and shared a few words. So the day started off well and with a beautiful day for a ride we were off to a good start. Good first day!